Every journey, every process has three stages. Beginnings are exciting and full of promise. Endings are satisfying and fulfilling. The Miracle in the Middle by Charlotte Gambill addresses the murky middle, the time between two shores when people lose interest, become discouraged, or just drop out. Charlotte’s word of encouragement is that the middle can be a place of building rather than breaking, and she offers practical and biblical wisdom taken from the life and ministry of Christ for managing our middle moments:
- The middle feels uncertain, so follow Jesus. In response to His “follow me,” the disciples accepted the shift in management and followed Jesus through the highs and lows of His earthly ministry.
- The middle may become turbulent, so stick close to the Word of God. Jesus’ words to His disciples put them in a boat in the middle of a lake, weathering “the perfect storm.” It was only after they were past the middle that they realized His plan.
- Since most of us are stressed out and straining by the mid-point, it is critical that we deal with the “damage” immediately — pray, forgive, and practice peace. It was while they were straining at their oars that the disciples got a clear view of what Jesus could do.
- In the middle of a storm, take courage, remember who Jesus is, and don’t fear. These were Jesus’ exact words to His disciples in Mark 6:50.
- To hold the boat steady mid-journey, drop anchors into God, His Word, His promises, and His grace. Hebrews 6:13 reminds us that His promises are unbreakable. This gives us hope as an anchor in the muddle of the middle, (Hebrews 6:19).
- The middle is all about patience and persistence. To make progress, position yourself correctly. My absolute favorite of Charlotte’s biblical vignettes portrays the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27:1-4) as movers and shakers whose self-advocacy in the middle of a murky and uncertain time changed their family’s fortunes and solidified their standing in the flow of biblical history.
- During those middle days, be a responder — not a reactor. In the middle, don’t be a moaner. The people of Israel, stuck in the middle somewhere between the Red Sea and the Promised Land, are poster children for how NOT to manage our middle moments.
- We occupy the middle with others who also need space and encouragement. The disciples’ blunders were public, but so was their recovery as God used them to establish the Church.
- Don’t confuse the mid-point with the destination. As in the case of David and Jonathan, God provides significant relationships to encourage and affirm.
- To motivate: ACCELERATE! The destination — the deadline, the goal keeps our eyes focused on God’s big picture. Like the disciples, we may find that the Jesus we meet in the middle will change all future beginnings and endings!
Middles will never be my favorite (not even with a pan of brownies!). However, I appreciate Charlotte Gambill’s call to pick up the oars in our marriages and families, in our career, in our ministry. Time well-spent in the middle will produce soul-strength and character qualities that will magnify Jesus when, with Him, we finally reach the shore.
This book was provided by Thomas Nelson through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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